by Leah Fanning – There are many ways to bring nature into your child’s life and these ten easy crafts for kids, made with all natural elements, might just be the perfect summer activity. We all know, it doesn’t matter where you go – the beach, the forest, a walk around the block – kids always come back home with their pockets filled with magical treasures from nature. So, why not create something with them? Be it sticks, rocks, seed pods, flower petals, or another gift from mother nature, you will hopefully be inspired by these ten easy nature crafts.
10 Easy Crafts For Kids
I’ve created a few easy crafts for kids using Natural Earth Paints. These paints are made from the earth in the same way that our ancestors have made paint for the past 100,000 years. The natural earth and minerals were collected from the ground, crushed, sifted, and screened and made into radiant, eco-friendly, non toxic paints for children.
1. Nature Mask Craft
First on our list of very easy crafts for kids is a nature mask craft, whose materials include four basics: thick paper, nature items that are easily glue-able (seeds, pressed leaves, feathers, flower petals), glue, and Natural Earth Paint.
Nature Mask Craft Instructions:
- Collect nature items in you neighborhood or around your house. Sometimes this is the most fun part!
- Draw & Cut out Masks with eye holes
- Paint with Earth Paints & let dry
- Apply glue designs and sprinkle on colorful seeds or spices, pressed leaves, feathers, flower petals, the possibilities are endless.
- Glue a strip of paper onto the back of the mask right above the eye holes. Measure on child’s head to see how big it should be, take off and staple or glue the ends together.
2. Handmade Natural Paint Brushes Craft
Materials you need to make these natural paint brushes include a soft plant stalk (mullein, yucca, iris, cattail stem, horsetail plant, etc.) and any object in nature that can be used to apply paint.
Natural Paint Brush Craft Instructions:
- To begin this easy craft for kids, carefully plan a nature walk to include areas with access to interesting potential paint brush material. As you start your walk together, explain that pre-made paint brushes have been around for a few hundred years, while our ancestors have been painting for over ten thousand years. See if children naturally gravitate to use the cattails, grasses, or mullein that they see.
- Help them break or cut plant stalks into pieces about 8 inches long.
- Try breaking up the fibers at one end of the stalk by chewing on it, mashing it with a rock or shredding it into narrow strips. Try to separate the fibers into a brush-like end. Note: you can also scrape the green material off of the stalks with your fingernail.
- Look for any plants, leaves or tree needles that can be attached to a stick like a brush or used as is (pine cones, flower petals, milk thistle pods, horsetail, etc.
Pro Paint Brush Craft Tip: The Native Americans of the Southwest chewed the ends of Yucca stalks to make brushes to paint pottery with.
3. Wizard Staffs & Fairy Wands Craft
Third on our list of easy crafts for kids, this one can provide hundreds of hours of fun, imaginative outdoor play! Go on a fun treasure hunt for materials to use when creating your wizard staff and fairy wand crafts – dried seed pods, tiny pine cones, feathers, tiny shells, anything that would look interesting attached to a wand.
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This super easy craft for kids needs only 5 materials including, drift wood or a sanded stick, Natural Earth Paint, natural twine or yarn, glue, and any natural materials (feathers, seed pods, dried weeds, small shells, etc.)
Wizard Staff & Fairy Wand Craft Instructions:
- Find a nice size stick or interesting piece of driftwood to decorate – if it has rough bark you can either sand it or peel it off.
- Mix up some natural earth paints and paint your stick one solid color, let dry.
- Paint on decorative colors, stripes, polka dots, etc.
- Squeeze glue on small segments of the stick and wrap yarn tightly around glue . Note: this can also be used to hold feathers or seed stalks in place).
- Gather your natural materials together and have fun gluing and attaching them to your hearts content.
Here are some ideas that we’ve tried….
- Glue on tiny stones or gems
- Add chicken, peacock or any found bird feathers to the top
- Dangle tiny shells with holes in them (or pine cones) to branches sticking out horizontally (with string or twine)
- Paint your seed pods, dried weeds, pine cones or anything that you attach
4. Stone Painting Craft
Stone paintings are number four on our list of easy crafts for kids who love rocks and it only requires three materials; smooth stones, Natural Earth Paint, and a paint brush.
Stone Painting Craft Instructions:
- Wash and dry small, smooth stones
- Paint designs and pictures on the stones with earth paints
There are numerous ways to make use of your beautiful painted stones, once they’re dry; make them into stacking rocks for toddlers, paper weights, garden stones, gifts, or Tic-Tac-Toe rocks.
5. Fruit & Veggie Print Craft
Why waste those mealtime leftovers when you can turn uneaten fruits and vegetables into fun stamps that kids can use to create nature-inspired masterpieces? The fifth on our list of easy crafts for kids, this teaches the important philosophy of recycling, by reusing fruits and vegetables to create exciting prints on paper or fabric.
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Make fun abstract prints or combine them to create masterful images. With only five materials needed – fruit, veggies, Natural Earth Paint, paint brush, and paper – this is one easy craft for kids that is definitely affordable.
Fruit & Veggie Printing Craft Instructions:
- Cut in half (caution: adults help young children)
- Cut a design into fruit or veggie like a potato or apple (carve away background with a butter knife so it sticks out or dig away image with a spoon or screw driver). OR just use the natural shape of the food (end of a celery stalk, nut shells, sliced mushrooms, rolling corn on cob, cabbage or eggplant cut in half).
- Brush earth paint onto the cut design or veggie
- Press onto paper
- Lift & repeat
This fun and easy craft idea for kids can be applied to so many fun gift and decor ideas like wrapping paper, greeting cards, book covers, decorative shopping bags, garden flags, or a banner.
6. Earth Bowls Craft
Salt dough Earth Bowl make number six on our easy craft for kids list because they are so easy to make and you end up with a useful, keepsake bowl, the perfect size for rings, cuff links or keys. These earth bowls also make the perfect homemade gift for Mothers day, Fathers day or any holiday, and you can’t get any easier, with just four materials; plain flour, salt, water, Natural Earth Paint.
Earth Bowl Craft Instructions:
- Mix together 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and up to 1 cup of water
- Knead the mixture into a dough
- Roll into long coils and wind coils into a small bowl shape
- Bake in oven 350 degrees for 20-30 min
- Let Cool
- Paint with Natural Earth Paint
7. Nature Animals & Fairies Craft
Any chance to turn your nature walks into easy crafts for kids, we get excited. Let budding naturalists take inspiration from their mother nature by applying their imagination to what they discover on the forest floor. Flowers, leaves, twigs, and shells can be transformed into works of art with only 5 materials; leaves, flower petals, card stock, glue, and Natural Earth Paints.
Nature Animal & Fairies Craft Instructions:
- Gather leaves and flower petals in nature or your own backyard
- Glue on card stock to create animals, wings, clothes, magic wands, and more
- Use your Earth Paints to paint arms, legs, eyes, and smiles
8. Natural Ink & Quills Craft
Inks have been around as long as writing has been a part of our history, but the art form has started to go the way of the dinosaur, but ink-making doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. And making an accompanying, fancy dip pen is as easy as finding a feather, stick or bamboo reed. The materials you’ll need for number eight on our list of easy crafts for kids, include Natural Earth Paint mixed with extra water or berries (Raspberries, blackberries or wild grapes) mixed with vinegar and salt, a feather, and small jar.
Natural Ink & Quills Craft Instructions:
- Take a berry picking trip and collect some blackberries, raspberries, or wild grapes (or defrost some berries that you picked this Summer).
- Put half a cup of berries in a sieve and squash them with the back of a spoon, collecting the juice in a bowl underneath
- Add half a tablespoon of salt and half a tablespoon of vinegar to preserve and retain color
- Mix well
- Pour in small jar
- Find a feather and dip in natural ink like a quill & draw/write (You’ll need to re-dip after every few strokes)
9. Nature Wood Slices Craft
Tap into your child’s inner crafter and their love for the outdoors by taking an otherwise ordinary item, like wood, and turning it into something beautiful and useful. Wood slices are super easy crafts for kids and only require three materials, thin wood slices (from a fallen tree or log or purchased online), Natural Earth Paint, and a drill (optional).
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Nature wood slices craft instructions vary depending on what you’ll be using them for, but generally speaking the only step in this process is finding or cutting wood slices, then spending the day in the grass painting them for a special keepsake.
- Here are a few ideas for wood slices craft:
- Drill a hole in the top to put a string through and hang on the wall or in the garden
- Create beautiful stepping “stones” for your sandbox or garden
- Varnish to create wood slice coasters
- Add a magnet to the back to make wood slice refrigerator magnets
10. Earth Play Dough Craft
One of any kid’s favorite activities is playing with play dough. The last on our list of easy craft for kids is the perfect activity, whether you’re outside or stuck inside on a rainy day. In just a few minutes you’ll have the perfect play dough, using only these three materials, flour, iodized salt, and Natural Earth Paints.
Earth Play Dough Craft Instructions:
- Mix 2 cups of flour with a half cup of iodized salt.
- In a separate bowl mix 1 cup of warm water with one tablespoon of dry Earth Paint
- Mix paint into dry ingredients mix
- Knead for five to ten minutes or until color is uniform throughout the dough
- Continue sprinkling in small amounts of flour until it’s not sticky
Pro Tip: If kept covered or in sealed container/ bag it will stay nice and workable for weeks. Or bake at 300 degrees until hard.
Leah Fanning is the owner of Natural Earth Paint, a professional artist, and mom of 6 year-old, Django. She lives in Southern Oregon, and enjoys harvesting earth pigments in the wild and making natural paint for the world! Her business, Natural Earth Paint, makes and sells natural paints and craft kits, earth and mineral pigments, earth-based oil paints for fine artists and a large variety of natural art supplies for children through fine artists.